Teaching Strategies For Students With Hearing Loss

The 2019 Disabled Child Event emphasized the importance of taking an inclusive teaching approach to people with disabilities. It includes those with hearing loss. Admit or not, students with hearing impairment have a hard time taking studying. The reality is, most of these individuals feel isolated in the learning environment we have right now. With these in mind, here are some teaching strategies you can use to make school systems more inclusive.

Improve Classroom Conditions

Students with hearing conditions need a modified classroom. This kind of room includes well-designed acoustics for optimal sound production, proper visual lighting, and little distractive noise. It would help if you also considered putting them in the front so that they’ll have a more unobstructed view of your visuals. Their sight is their primary weapon in learning.

Provide Transcripts

Flashing powerpoints or writing on blackboards are not enough. Some information that you say on your adlib while teaching, but are not in the visuals. Therefore, the best way to go about this is to provide transcripts that will help them catch up with the discussion. They can review this after to ensure that they’ve understood the lesson correctly.

Repeat Important Concepts

You need to repeat the critical concepts several times so that they’ll take everything in. Do the same practice if ever other students ask some questions before giving your response. This way, they won’t be confused with what’s happening around them. This approach will also help them just in case they have the same question in mind.

Maximize Assistive Technical Capabilities

Years of research and development allowed educators to use tools to teach those with auditory abilities. These are known as assistive technical capabilities. Some examples of these include:

  • Personal Amplification Systems
  • C-Print which has a speech-to-text feature
  • Speech synthesizer
  • FM systems to improve sound an instructor’s microphone

Teaching a student with hearing loss might be a little challenging. However, an educator’s job is to make every teaching approach as inclusive as possible. Apply these tips in your classroom, and you will spearhead positive change in their lives.

Challenges Of Being Blind During A Pandemic

I grew up around visually impaired people, given that my mother is one of them. She lost most of her vision due to glaucoma when I was merely an infant. My father was not around at all, so she had to raise me on her own.

Despite my mother’s blindness, I never thought much about her disability. It was not because I was insensitive but because she did everything that a non-disabled person could do. My mother worked as an accountant, did all the grocery shopping at home, and even did all the household chores until I was old enough to help.

I only realized how challenging it must be to have a visual impairment when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Here are a few issues that my mother and other visually impaired folks experience now:

You Cannot Ask For Help From Strangers

A lot of sight-impaired individuals get through the day with the help of people they may or may not know. Say, if someone sees that you have a tough time finding the door, they will guide you to it. If you cannot reach a product at the supermarket, they will put it in your cart. Often, you need not ask—those helpful strangers just do it.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, people have become aloof, especially when they are in a public place. Assuming you used to get assistance from random folks before asking, you may hardly find anyone willing to do it these days. No one feels like coming in contact with strangers, regardless if they have an impairment and genuinely need help.

You Cannot Touch Anything In Public

When there is not another soul to extend a helping hand, a blind person can typically get things done by using their sense of touch. Meaning to say, they tend to feel the walls to know the right direction or avoid bumping into it. That’s how they figure out how to use public transportation, climb up the stairs, or hit the correct elevator button.

Unfortunately, no one can touch any public property at the moment. The virus may be sticking to those walls and buttons, and you can contract COVID-19. Hence, things can be tricky from the moment you step out of the house even if you have a walking stick.

You Cannot Shop Online Easily

Yes, visually impaired folks can do online shopping. They typically have an app that reads the text on the screen, so they don’t need another set of eyes to read for them. Then, when the package comes, the driver or delivery personnel can help check the items and ensure that everything has arrived.

Still, this advancement has proven to be not too helpful during a crisis in which other people are panic buying. After all, it takes a while for the app to change whatever’s on-screen from text to speech. The delivery guys are also forbidden to come in close contact with the customers, so they cannot open the package for the blind. For that reason, the sight-impaired individuals have no choice but to either accept or reject the parcels with missing items.

Final Thoughts

My mother has lived through the challenges mentioned above because of this pandemic, and it saddens her to know that she needs to stay at home more often these days. It makes me feel sadder that the once-helpful folks no longer even want to greet you, but I understand that they only wish to prevent virus transmission. Alas, it may take many moons before things return to their natural state, and it’s safe for visually impaired people to go out by themselves again. All we can do is ask for assistance from a close relative or neighbor for now.

Classroom Support For Visually Impaired Students

The 2018 Disability Conference promotes the accessibility and inclusivity of various institutions and provides support to differently-abled people and their families. It inclines with the conference focus of equipping differently-abled people to have the same opportunities as everyone else. In line with this, institutions like schools have to ensure that all students have equal chances and access to learning. 

For students who are dealing with notable visual impairment, the students must have access to a Certified Teacher for the Visually Impaired (TVI), including a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) for consultation. However, there are practical tips teacher can implement for teaching visually impaired students inside the classroom, and these are: 

  • Addressing The Students By Their Name

Teachers should speak to their students using their names, whether they are visually impaired or not. For visually impaired students, addressing them with their names allows them to distinguish when their teachers are talking to them or asking them a question. Teachers should approach all the students by their names to help visually impaired students identify their other classmates and create connections inside the classroom. They should also encourage all their students to do the same when they’re talking with each other.

  • Always Explain Visual Materials

You have to clearly explain all the visual materials you’re using while you’re teaching visually impaired students. In this way, all of your students can participate and will feel included in conversations. You should describe the image, and if you’re writing on the chalkboard or whiteboard, it’s best to dictate the words. Avoid using gestures so that everyone can gain access to the information and follow along. Always use positional concepts such as behind/in front or left/right and descriptive sentences.

  • Provide Beneficial Seats

Organize advantageous seats for your students who are visually impaired to help them become comfortable and safe inside the room. For example, if a student is only capable of using his/ her left eye, then place him/her on the right side of the classroom. Avoid making them sit facing a light source as well so that they won’t face difficulties. 

  • Treat All Your Students Fairly

As much as you are making adjustments for your visually impaired students, it’s also essential that you uphold them on the same rules and behavioral expectations like everyone else in the class. Avoid giving preference treatments to them so that they’ll feel like one of their peers inside the classroom.  

Different Types Of Sensory Aids

If you personally know someone who has an impairment and you want to help them in any way possible, be sure to understand that there are different ways that you can do.

First of all, make sure that you understand their condition. Some of the impairments that individuals have are congenital, which means that they were born with their specific kind of condition, while others have acquired them, meaning that they developed a certain impairment due to an accident or a disease. You must be very sensitive about tackling these impairments with them because some may not have accepted their conditions yet. Luckily, if the impairment is not too severe, there are different types of sensory aids depending on their needs.

How To Start A Conversation With The Hearing Impaired

Hearing loss can impact a person’s quality of life. Imagine how difficult it is to respond to people or join a conversation when you can’t hear anything. Your circle becomes limited because you can only interact with individuals who know how to communicate with you.

“Individuals who are deaf face challenges both similar and unique from those faced by hearing individuals when a family member is dying,” Karen A. Kehl, PhD, RN, ACHPN says.

5 Tips To Observe In Dealing With A Therapist

Have you decided to start looking for a therapist as soon as possible? Do you think that it is time for you to confront your mental health issues and seek the help of a professional? Are you afraid of how this professional engagement may turn out, especially if you are not aware of how to do it right? In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips and tricks on how you can deal with a therapist during your first few sessions.

 

 

Before anything else, the first step that you must do is to look for an excellent mental health professional who has a good record in your industry. As much as possible, find someone that you can trust so that you will not have a hard time dealing with him. Otherwise, you will only regret your decision of getting therapy. The sessions or meetings may not be fruitful as expected if you fail to select the best therapist in your local community. Because of this, it is best if you will take all the time you need for the selection process to ensure that you will not commit any mistake.

“A good therapist, however you find them, is gold,” shares Don Turner, MD, a private practice psychiatrist in Atlanta. “A good therapist is non judgemental, accepting, and patient. Otherwise, our patients are just getting what they grew up with.”

Check the rest of the article to find out the different ways on how you can deal with a therapist in the right manner. Here are some of the things that you must know:

Talk About The Terms

The first step that you must never forget to settle is to discuss the terms and conditions of your engagement with the therapist. Do not hesitate to ask questions in availing of the professional services. As much as possible, learn about the fees necessary as well as the payment terms available. Aside from this, you must also be able to discuss the frequency of your meetings. Take note that it is best to avail of the trial services provided by some therapists so that you can make the an informed and correct decision. The terms of your contract with the said professional matters a lot.

 

 

Be Honest At All Times

If you want to make your relationship with a therapist work, it is crucial on your part to remain honest no matter what happens. Keep in mind that all communications made to a therapist are highly confidential. This means that you can tell anything you want to the said professional without the risk of disclosure.

“I indicated why some people tell the particular stories they do: to make themselves more interesting in general and, in particular, to have interesting symptoms; to make themselves seem better: more intelligent and more capable; to explain away and justify failures, to put one over the psychiatrist, who may present himself as preternaturally wise; to gossip about others; and to distract from the ordinary business of life which is usually the source of most patients’ distress, but which is painful to contemplate because it is so intractable. In sum, people lie to cover up an unpleasant picture that they have of themselves,” Fredric Neuman, MD, shares.

Under the state laws, a therapist is prohibited from revealing any form of information that it derives during therapy sessions. Failure to observe this law can cause for the revocation of their license. These laws were enacted to ensure that clients or patients could confide freely to the therapist. However, the rules also mandate that any confession regarding the commission of a future crime will not be included in the privileged communication. Aside from this, the notes of therapists may not be brought as evidence in any case, unless a court issues a subpoena.

Ask For Clarifications

There are many things that you can learn from a therapist during your sessions. Some of these items may not be clear to you, which is why you must never have second thoughts in asking for clarifications. Keep in mind that it is absolutely okay to request your mental health professional expert to explain some terms clearly to you. Stop thinking that you are always helpless. If something is bothering you, bring it up, and have a truthful communication with a therapist. Once you can do all these things, you will be surprised to find out that attending therapy is not as difficult as what other people say. All you have to do is to ask the right questions.

 

Be Responsible

Just because you are a client does not mean that everything will go according to what you plan or intend to do. Keep in mind that a therapist has many things to do on his plate. As such, you cannot expect him to give you a lot of time in a given day. Make sure that you respect the allotted time given to you. Check your calendar and see if you have a meeting with a therapist. It is highly recommended that you go to the therapist’s clinic ahead of time. At the same time, be courteous enough to call the office to inform the front desk office if you wish to cancel your meeting or appointment. It is best to do it ahead of time so that you will not encounter any problem at all.

“You know therapy is working if you are doing the skills you have learned in session outside of session and seeing that it works or helps. There might be working if you are able to set better boundaries, trust yourself and your decisions without reassurance seeking, validate yourself and others, or prioritize your needs and demands in a more balanced way,” Jessica Dyer, LCSW, staff counselor at Washington University in St. Louis, says.

What are you waiting for? Start your search for the best therapist now, and remember the items mentioned above.

 

 

Hearing Impairment (From A Deaf Person’s Perspective)

Hearing impairment is called a disability because it shows a distinctive portion of physical disadvantage. It also easily gets connected to social and environmental issues. In some instances, it even appears listed in the community’s not-so-interesting matter. But for someone who experiences the difficulty of hearing disability, it means more than just a physical complication. Therefore, every intervention of medication and therapy online becomes crucial.

The Stigma

“Some people have partial hearing loss, meaning that the ear can pick up some sounds; others have complete hearing loss, meaning that the ear cannot hear at all (people with complete hearing loss are considered deaf). In some types of hearing loss, a person can have much more trouble when there is background noise,” Thierry Morlet, PhD shares.

A lot of people do not appear to understand the struggle of having a sensory condition. Most of them assume that when a person is deaf, he becomes useless for particular reasons. With that, they often feel sorry for the individual with hearing impairment. They didn’t know that the person can stay focus, become happy, and reach contentment in life. With the help of loved ones and people who understand his situation, he can flawlessly perform, function, and contribute something to society. Yes, no one can immediately know when someone is deaf. Perhaps that’s the primary reason why a lot of people don’t try to accommodate it. Therefore, it is not entirely their fault too.

Hearing impairment is a hidden disability, and that is something a lot of people often ignore. They don’t try and imagine how hard it is for someone to communicate or have an exchange of conversation per se. There’s the feeling of alienation everywhere, and the mentality drives the individual into a deep and lonely state. That even if he tries so hard to settle and understand things around him, that person will never feel the same as to everyone else around him. Yes, several institutions and community may process anti-discrimination and equal opportunity, but not all of them are willing to accept someone who they think is going to become a burden at some point. Somehow, there is still an inflicted doubt that a hearing-impaired person can work and progress normally like others.

Why The Condition Is Mentally And Emotionally Exhausting

“Growing up, I rarely used the phone, because I could not understand,” Samuel R. Atcherson, PhD, recalls his childhood dilemma of being diagnosed with mild hearing loss. “This affected my social life considerably, and I certainly had moments of feeling isolated.”

The hardest and saddest part of having a disability is acceptance. A lot of people tend to avoid a hearing-impaired person because they believe it is not worth to spend time knowing and communicating. With that, the buildup of emotional and mental turmoil escalates quickly. In some unfortunate events, it promotes anxiety and depression. It becomes too much to deal with and uninteresting to handle. It is understandable that the process of communicating with a hearing-impaired individual can sometimes become way too stressful and exhausting. That’s because a lot of people may find it too overwhelming even to attempt to begin with connecting.

“Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation. You may not want to be with people as much, and when you are, you may not engage in conversation as much,” Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D, Director of Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, reveals.

With fortunate circumstances along with the help of technology, there are better ways to deal with the situation. There’s the invention of hearing aids, therapy for listening and speech, sign language, and so on. But even though there are these helpful tools and techniques that are supposed to bridge the gap between communications, it is still not working fully. The societal impact of hearing disability still locks people into thinking that the condition is way off their radar. They don’t recognize that there is so much more a person can do even if he is currently on that state.

Final Thought

For an individual who finds himself battling with the stigma of having a sensory disability, it is an unfortunate circumstance. However, it should not have to dominate and should create a massive influence on life instead. Since it is going to stick around for the person’s entire existence, he should learn to look at it as something that will keep himself holding on. The person should develop resilience, emotional and mental toughness to make a better response. There is no reason to sit and restrict life experiences just because of a disability. There must be an understanding that despite the situation, the individual must look at all the aspect of who he is. That way, he can confidently tell the world that his defying condition will only allow him to grow and improve.

With a lot of social and environmental issues a deaf person encounter almost every day, it’s not easy. But as long as we understand, support, and believe in their capabilities, we are making significant progress in providing them a world without judgment.

Mental Health Related: Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory integration is how the central nervous system receives messages from the senses. The information gets used by an individual so he can process behavioral or motor response. Since there’s a lot of bombarded information from the five senses, the nervous system needs to organize it so that a person’s reaction matches the signaling message.

Pioneering psychologist, occupational therapist, and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D. likened this dysfunction to a “neurological traffic jam that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly.”

Therefore, when there is sensory processing dysfunction, neural signals tend to tangle and become unorganized. The term sensory processing disorder or SPD is not currently recognized as mental health or medical condition that stands on its own. That’s the reason why people won’t find it listed on any diagnostic manuals.

“The disorder, however, isn’t officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Instead of its own disorder, many doctors and experts believe sensory issues are a component of another condition or disorder.” Karen Richardson Gill, MD, FAAP, explains.

So, what is it? What are the damages it can do to a person? How can we treat it?

All About The Condition

When an individual experiences a sensory processing disorder, he will not be able to respond to his senses immediately. There is a tendency that the individual can get confused about what he’s hearing, tasting, seeing, touching, and smelling. Everything becomes extremely overwhelming. In some case of events, the condition may only affect one sense. But it can also harm many senses as well. And every person with the disorder may react and behave differently depending on their sensory dysfunction. There is a collection of different intensity and responses to stimuli. With that, some individuals may or may not have an overreaction to stimuli. Overreaction includes throwing a tantrum, vomiting, screaming, and an outburst. And with those people with under-reaction, they will barely respond or feel physical touch or may not cover their ears when there’s a loud noise around. The condition supports both over and under responses. Therefore, not every individual is going to act the same.

The condition is way too complicated than most people think. That’s perhaps the reason why it mainly gets attributed to ASD or autism spectrum disorder. With that, many professionals believe that this information needs to change and should be included in diagnostic manuals as a stand-alone condition. Though in general, a lot of its symptoms are relatable to various phobias, misophonia, ADHD, schizophrenia, PTSD, and even borderline personality disorder. With that, it is essential to note that the condition is not something that all professional health experts can easily understand. Therefore, it’s best to find someone who knows and specializes in sensory issues along with its types.

The Types Of Sensory Processing Disorder

  • Sensory Discrimination Disorder – It is the type of sensory processing disorder that contains difficulty in accurately identifying qualities of stimuli. Individuals with this state may use little or too much force when doing something. Most of the time, they break something without realizing that they exerted too much strength. Some may also struggle in picking items, particularly in a cluttered area. Some may even move too slow or too fast in doing certain activities.
  • Sensory Modulation Disorder – It is characterized by an individual’s struggle to regulate the intensity of response to sensory stimuli. Meaning, a person with this condition tends to hate textures in some food; they sometimes hate brushing their teeth and find it uninteresting to manage their hair. Note that the things they often hate are not at all upsetting to most people. Usually, only these individuals view, smell, feel, and see common things differently.
  • Postural Ocular Disorder – It is a state where a person struggles to manage visual and bodily movements. Therefore, an individual has a hard time balancing their body, tracking items in their eye line, and strive to control the amount of strength needed in completing a specific task. There are also cases that a person may not identify which of his hands are dominant and which is not.
  • Dyspraxia – It’s a sensory processing dysfunction that makes a person struggle with planning, scheduling, and executing things in sequence. It entirely makes everything complicated and hard to do daily. It gets difficult to move to a specific task to another due to less excellent motor coordination.

As for the cause of SPD, people and experts don’t know. Therefore, extensive research and study must be done to understand the condition thoroughly.

“Symptoms are apparent in only about ten percent of the population and two percent may show severe symptoms. There is no cure for dyspraxia but an early diagnosis and therapy means greater chances of improvement,” Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD, reveals.

Fortunately, there is a recommended treatment available to manage the disorder. There’s occupational therapy where it encourages rehabilitation through the focus of an individual’s performance of activities. With that, it creates a better and meaningful engagement that helps sustain a person’s daily life.